Benitez backs Keane

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Liverpool boss Rafael Benitez insists misfiring striker Robbie Keane will overcome his current crisis in form.

Keane looked a frustrated figure as he trudged off the Anfield pitch after being substituted on Monday as Liverpool were battling to break down a determined West Ham rearguard during the goalless draw.

But Benitez said: "Robbie is a better player than the one we are seeing now."

Keane has managed just four goals this term, and only completed 90 minutes on three occasions in 22 appearances. He has come on as a substitute four times and been substituted 15 times.

Those statistics underline the problem for Benitez, with Keane struggling for form and confidence.

He is also suffering from the scenario that afflicted Craig Bellamy in his one season at Anfield. With most teams opting to defend deep and in numbers at Anfield, there is little space for a quick striker to utilise his speed, and in that respect, Bellamy and Keane are very similar.

Benitez said: "We know what kind of player Robbie Keane is. He needs people around him to pass the ball well.

"I believe he will be okay, he will score more if we create chances for him. But if that does not happen we have to use players with different qualities to open up the game.

"Robbie does get disappointed when things are not going his way. He is a worker, but he can improve.

"It is a question of confidence. If we score first in this type of game then we will grow and win. Some players may be lacking in confidence, but if we keep creating chances we will be okay."

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Robbie Keane
Craig Bellamy
Premier League

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